In Memory Of
Miriam Luby Wolfe
United States of America / Seat 21K
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Miriam Luby Wolfe
Student
September 26, 1968 - December 21, 1988 (Age: 20)

By the time she graduated from Severna Park High School in Maryland in 1986, Miriam Luby Wolfe knew what she wanted to do with her life. In the yearbook she wrote as her goals, "Sing and dance my way through life, star on Broadway, become internationally famous, win an Oscar...and live happily ever after." The dreams ended on Miriam's trip returning home from a semester in London, England, in which she had studied dance, dramatic literature, acting, voice, and art history. She also had a dramatic internship at London's Kingshead Theatre.

In high school, Miriam was president of the Drama Club and winner of the 1986 Linda Joy Davies Memorial Award for Achievement in Art and Humanities. Her drama teacher there remembers her as energetic and talented. "She was a good actress and had a real flair for comic acting." She and several other Syracuse University students had planned to put together and experimental theater group in Syracuse to deal with subjects such as rape, AIDS, and women's issues. Writing plays was a recent project idea she had shared with her family. "She had all kinds of plans," her mother, Rosemary Mild, said.

Her mother goes on to describe Miriam as brilliant, gifted, but most of all giving. To her family, her friends, and the world she gave an extraordinary portion of love, joy, and wisdom.

Miriam also embraced life with a rare zest and passion, particularly in London in the fall of 1988. Her exuberance was all encompassing: she didn't walk, she bounced, her luxuriant curls bobbing, intense blue eyes sparkling. Miriam was also an inspiring friend—full of humor and encouragement, never judging, even helping those who were auditioning for the same role she was trying out for. Helping people, even strangers, was second nature to her.

Rabbi Robert G. Klensin in his eulogy referred to Miriam's many mitzvahs, the Hebrew word for "good deeds." When she was younger she went door to door collecting for UNICEF. She often gave blank diaries as gifts and inscribed a page with various inspirational verses that encouraged the recipient to write his or her own thoughts. He concluded, "We may not smile today or tomorrow, maybe not next week. Somehow we must focus not on what could have been, but on what was, on the beauty of her life and on all that she brought to us and so many others. So long as we live she, too, shall live, for she is now a part of us as we remember her."

When the Scottish police officer returned Miriam's personal effects, Rosemary discovered new dimensions to her only child: a prolific writer, scholar, and activist with the heart and wisdom of a philosopher. Rosemary published many of Miriam's writings—stories, essays and poems—in the Washington Post; Cricket; Soap Opera Stars; Dramatics magazine; Kids' Byline; Art Times: A Creative & Cultural Journal; and elsewhere. In 1999, Rosemary published Miriam's Gift: A Mother's Blessings—Then and Now. The book describes the families' struggles and triumphs to achieve better airline security and bring the terrorists to justice. In its essence the book seeks to celebrate Miriam's legacy.

Her family and friends honor Miriam's memory in diverse ways. A cousin and three friends have named their babies after Miriam (one first name and three middle names) and three scholarship funds have been established in her memory.
The only child of Rosemary Mild, she also leaves her stepfather, Lawrence Mild; her father, James Wolfe; and her stepmother, Rosemary Wolfe.

2021
Miriam Wolfe Legacies
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Dec 01, 2021
1988
At our house on Christmas Day, 1988, somebody switched on the TV. Anxious family members clustered in our living room. A cereal commercial blared. Then the kindly face of Charles Kuralt filled the screen. He devoted his program "Sunday Morning" to Pan Am Flight 103, including an interview with a State Department expert on counterterrorism. Suddenly, an amazing thing happened. Mr. Kuralt finished his program with these words: “It is hard to think of large numbers of disaster victims as individuals, but we should try. We received this letter just before Christmas. It comes to us from Kenneth Bolinsky of Sellersville, Pennsylvania. It says: ‘Dear Mr. Kuralt: In the folklore of Eastern European Jewry is found the tale of the Tzaddikim—thirty-six holy good souls upon whose existence lies the responsibility for the balance of good and evil in the universe. The Tzaddik is, however, totally unaware of this burden. I am writing to tell you of one such soul. During my three years of graduate study at Syracuse University she became a part of my days—a soothing moment in passing. She was a blissfully talented creature full of joy and of light and of love. She was my friend. There is now a serious imbalance in the universe: Miriam Wolfe was aboard Pan Am Flight 103. I thought you’d want to know.’” Of all the passengers on the plane, it was my daughter Mr. Kuralt chose to talk about. I asked myself whether I had understood my child too little; whether I had paid too little attention. In April 1989 I wrote Ken Bolinsky to thank him. Here was his reply: “Dear Mr. and Mrs. Mild: I got to know Miriam through other friends: I chose to share their grief at her loss, not recognizing my own. We are a strange animal, not always knowing when we have been wounded and, even then, not how deeply. I wrote the letter to Mr. Kuralt out of a sense of fear, of emptiness—I had to share my anxiety. The writing was my catharsis. I cannot tell you why I sent the letter to him—I’m not certain that I know. Perhaps because I have come to trust him. I marked it ‘Personal’ and never expected a response in any form. I heard the words I had written while preparing my family’s Christmas breakfast and found myself crying again. What followed, though, was something wonderful. As the broadcast made its way across the country, distant friends called to share their frustration at the horror that had befallen us all. Miriam allowed us to touch, and ease, our mutual pain. How like her to help others, to help strangers find a healing peace. Perhaps that is the memory of your daughter that stays with me: I keep it like a smooth, bright pebble—safe in the bottom of a pocket.”
Joy, Light, and Love
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Dec 25, 1988 - On the TV program "Sunday Morning"
Passage to Amsterdam
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Nov 01, 1988 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
This Day Is Mine" — Miriam's philosophy for living well.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Nov 01, 1988
Found a canine friend in Wales.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Oct 01, 1988
In London cafe with friends (clockwise from lower left): flatmate Jessica Genick, Christine Venier and Anne Husak.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Sep 01, 1988
Singing and dancing at Darien Lake, NY, in "The Heart of Rock and Roll."
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jul 01, 1988
Miriam and Mom in her SU dorm room.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Mar 01, 1988
1987
As the fluttery Mrs. Spencer in "Anne of Green Gables," sophomore year at SU.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Dec 01, 1987
With Mom and her stepsisters, Jackie Mild Lau and Myrna Mild Spurrier. Myrna received her Master's in Art Education.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
May 01, 1987
1986
Miriam sporting makeup magic in SU drama department
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Oct 01, 1986 - Syracuse, NY
Severna Park High Senior Class Play. Rehearsing with friend Bonnie Miller.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Apr 01, 1986
As Drama Club president: taking a stand against high school play censorship.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Mar 01, 1986
1982
Red Delicious apple tree that she planted from seed in our yard at age five.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Aug 01, 1982
Holding Hoppy, who ruled the roost.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jul 01, 1982
With Chris Spencer, her stepbrother. So glad not to be an only child anymore.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jul 01, 1982
At MGM in Hollywood with "CHiPS" Star Robert Pine and friend Wendy Moser.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jun 01, 1982
1981
Next to her ceramic mask in community art show.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Dec 01, 1981
Sitting with her rescue dog Midnight.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Aug 01, 1981
1980
At thirteen she played basketball and clarinet and ran the mile.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Nov 01, 1980
1976
Holding Cuddles, her new kitten.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Oct 01, 1976
With Grandpa Saul K. Pollack and Cousin Marlene Pollack
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jul 01, 1976 - Milhuawkee, WI
1975
Miriam and Mom with our puppy, Shane Henry.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Oct 01, 1975
1973
Miriam's first day of kindergarten at Folger McKinley Elementary School
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Sep 01, 1973
1969
Miriam at four months, the world's happiest baby.
Posted By Rosemary Mild
Jan 01, 1969